Indian diplomat sentenced for maltreatment

31st July 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Geneva court sentences an Indian diplomat to jail for exploiting a domestic worker over three years.

Geneva -- An Indian diplomat was sentenced to seven months in jail by a Geneva court after he was found to have exploited a domestic worker over three years, the victim's lawyer said Thursday.

The servant, who told Swiss newspaper Le Matin that he worked daily from 7h00 to 23h00 over three years, was not paid for his work in Geneva.

Rather, for a year and a half, the diplomat, who has since retired, paid CHF 150 a month to the servant's father in India.

Jean-Pierre Garbade, the servant's lawyer, told AFP that such cases involving diplomats in the western Swiss city, which is a major base for the United Nations and other international agencies, are not uncommon.

"Currently there are about 10 other cases before the court," he said.

These typically involve diplomats who failed to pay their domestic staff or employed them as servants at wages far below the local norm, he added.

Garbade noted that the cases currently pending involve diplomats from countries in western Asia and Africa. Saudi Arabia is a "recurrent" country, he added.

However, Garbade also noted that it was often a difficult and long process to secure such convictions because of the complex rules of employment and residence governing diplomats’ servants, as well as diplomatic immunity.

A sentencing for the Indian worker’s case was announced in early July, even though he fled from his employer in 1996.

Garbade said he had since received a passport from Switzerland and a work permit.

An arrest warrant was sent out for the diplomat, who has retired and no longer lives in Switzerland.

AFP / Expatica

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